Some may find it odd that oil magnates and Republican kingmakers Charles and David Koch chose the so-called left-leaning MSNBC as the venue for a rare sit-down interview on Tuesday. But what MSNBC isn’t promoting is that the hosts in charge of the interview are self-professed and unabashed Koch fans.
The shadowy billionaire brothers earned headlines this year after reportedly prepping to drop as much as $1 billion on the 2016 presidential election, a nightmare for those opposed to the ballooning influence of big money in politics after 2010’s Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
As the GOP field slowly but surely slims down, the channel chose Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the double act of MSNBC’s flagship chat show "Morning Joe," to carry the first-ever joint interview with both Koch brothers in the barons' hometown of Wichita, Kansas.
“In one sitdown with Charles Koch, Joe and Mika will discuss with him his new bestselling book ‘Good Profit,’ a press release said. “Then, David will join Charles for a conversation about their unique backgrounds and lives, and their thoughts on politics.”
Unmentioned in the release is the fact that both Brzezinski and Scarborough earlier this year attended a weekend in Palm Springs, California, for the American Recovery Policy Forum, put on by the Kochs' organization, the tax-exempt Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce.
The weekend was closed to the public and the media but nevertheless attracted many members of the press -- including ABC News' Jonathan Karl -- who networked with donors, business leaders and other denizens of the Koch kingdom. Also in attendance were presidential candidates Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio, who headlined the event with an informal debate around “free markets and the role of government.”
Neither MSNBC nor the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce would respond to questions about whether the Koch organization paid the travel or other expenses for the MSNBC hosts.
Once the MSNBC duo returned to New York to tape their show, they treated viewers to several days of glowing reports from their trip to Kochland. Brzezinski, the resident liberal opposite Scarborough’s cranky-but-lovable conservative persona, raved for two days about the unappreciated passions of the “awesome” oil magnates as her male co-host nodded beside her.
"They're definitely not what you think," Brzezinski said the first day back. "I mean, it's everything that you don't think, and you don't know," she went on the next day. "There are different facets of the story you get to see when you actually go and observe events like this."
"Liz Koch, ever met her?” Brzezinski continued, mentioning Charles Koch's wife. “She's a ball of fire! And she's got this incredible program for helping the poorest of the poor kids in several inner cities that she's developed."
Her co-host, a former Republican congressman, lauded the Kochs for inviting Brzezinski to the event. "It was a great move having Mika out there as a liberal. It was, I think, very important.”
Scarborough himself boasted of a long conversation with Charles Koch, calling him a crusader against “income disparity and, mainly, crony capitalism.”
“They don’t want the federal government in your pocketbook, but they also don’t want them in your bedroom,” he said. “They’re like, I think, most Americans.”
MSNBC’s special live broadcast from Wichita State University will air Tuesday, Nov. 3.